|Publication number||US5238298 A|
|Application number||US 07/881,400|
|Publication date||Aug 24, 1993|
|Filing date||May 11, 1992|
|Priority date||Apr 24, 1991|
|Also published as||CA2041158A1, CA2041158C|
|Publication number||07881400, 881400, US 5238298 A, US 5238298A, US-A-5238298, US5238298 A, US5238298A|
|Inventors||Edwin R. Wagner, Allen P. Forsyth|
|Original Assignee||Atlas Copco Construction & Mining Technique A.B.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (13), Referenced by (17), Classifications (12), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This is a continuation of application Ser. No. 07/692,442, filed Apr. 24, 1991, now U.S. Pat. No. 5,112,113.
This invention relates to a method and apparatus for releasing brakes on disabled vehicles and more particularly to a method and apparatus for releasing spring-activated hydraulically-released vehicle brakes to permit towing of such disabled vehicles.
For safety reasons, many industrial vehicles use spring-applied hydraulically-released brake systems (spring-applied brakes) to provide automatic fail-safe braking on loss of vehicle power or hydraulic fluid pressure. Such a system for wheel brakes is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,893,879 to Middelhoven, et al. Other such brake systems operate on a vehicle's driveline as an emergency brake.
The disadvantage of current vehicles equipped with spring-applied brakes is that such brakes prevent a disabled vehicle from easily being towed. This is a particular problem with vehicles used in mining, especially underground mining where access to a disabled vehicle is limited and the distance to a maintenance area may be great. This is particularly critical where remote-controlled, unmanned vehicles are used under unreinforced mine ceilings. Because workers are not permitted in such areas, repair and retrieval of a disabled vehicle may be impossible.
Some current systems for releasing spring-applied brakes to permit towing use an alternate backup pump and associated valves and power source on the vehicle to provide brake pressure in the event of a system failure and to provide a reserve to compensate for leakage. This type of backup system is costly to provide on every vehicle.
Another current system for releasing spring-applied brakes on a disabled vehicle is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,576,418 to Holtzinger, which discloses a brake release mechanism adapted to connect with a portable pump to provide sufficient hydraulic pressure to release the vehicle brakes. This requires a worker to approach the vehicle to make a connection.
Such current brake release systems require special equipment to be brought to the disabled vehicle, and increase the time needed to remove a disabled vehicle to permit its repair and to permit mining operations to begin. They also provide no means for braking the towed vehicle while it is being towed, an important safety consideration, especially in view of the typically heavy weight of such equipment.
A primary object of the invention is to provide a means and method for releasing a vehicle brake in a disabled vehicle having a spring-applied hydraulically-released brake system without requiring an external brake pressurizing apparatus.
The invention may include a brake system pressurizing hydraulic cylinder operably connected to the vehicle towing connection.
The invention may further include a pivoting tow hook to actuate the hydraulic cylinder when the vehicle is towed.
Another important object is to provide such means and method that are operable to release the vehicle brake in response to towing of the vehicle.
Another object is to provide a method and means as aforesaid that are also responsive to a release of towing force on the towing connection of the towed vehicle to reapply the vehicle brake.
Another object is to provide a method and means that may be employed by a remote-controlled, unmanned towing vehicle without complex connections requiring a worker to approach the disabled vehicle.
The foregoing and additional features and advantages of the present invention will be more readily apparent from the following detailed description which proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings.
FIG. 1 is a rear elevational view of an apparatus according to the present invention shown mounted on the rear of a vehicle.
FIG. 2 is a sectional side view of the apparatus taken along line 2--2 of FIG. 1
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a front elevational view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.
FIG. 5 is a schematic hydraulic circuit diagram showing the apparatus of FIG. 1 as applied to a spring-applied hydraulically-released wheel brake system.
FIG. 6 is a detailed hydraulic circuit assembly diagram of the apparatus of FIG. 1.
FIGS. 1 and 2 show a tow hook brake release system 10 mounted to a vehicle chassis member 12. The system generally includes a tow hook 14 pivotally attached to the chassis to actuate a hydraulic cylinder 16 to generate a hydraulic fluid pressure in a brake-release circuit (FIG. 5) when the tow hook is pivoted by a towing (tension) force F applied by a towing vehicle (not shown). The hydraulic cylinder is operably connected to a spring-applied vehicle brake (shown in FIG. 5) in the brake-release circuit to release the vehicle brake when the tow hook is pivoted by the towing force F.
The tow hook 14 is part of a rigid generally L-shaped bell crank lever member 15 having a generally vertically projecting tow hook connection end 18 and a horizontally projecting actuator arm 20. Between tow hook connection end 18 and actuator arm 20, the lever member 15 is pivoted on an axle shaft 24 attached to chassis member 12 via tow hook mounting bracket arms 26. The tow hook 14 includes a pivot tube 21 that defines a pivot bore 22 at an intermediate location thereon. The pivot bore is sized to receive the axle shaft 24. The tow hook is mounted so that leftward pivoting motion of the connection end 18 as shown in FIG. 1 on pivot shaft 24 results in upward motion of the actuator arm 20. The free end of the actuator arm 20 is pivoted at a pivot connection 28 to a cylinder actuating axle or shaft 30. The lever member 15 is shown as fully actuated in dashed lines in FIG. 2.
When the lever member 15 is at rest, a towhook face 31 contacts the chassis member 12 to limit the member's motion. When the lever member is actuated by a towing force F, an arm upper face 33 rises until it contacts a lower surface 37 of the chassis member 12.
As shown in FIG. 1, the cylinder 16 includes a cylinder body 32 pivotally connected at an upper end 34 by ears 35 to a cylinder axle 36 retained by cylinder axle retaining arm members 38 that are fixed to the chassis 12 of the vehicle. A piston rod 40 is slidably received by the cylinder body 32 at a lower end 42 of the cylinder. The piston rod 40 has a lower end 42 fixed to a clevis member 44 rotatably connected to the cylinder actuating axle 30.
A tow hook biasing spring 46 is arranged in compression in a generally vertical orientation, with an upper spring end 48 of the spring 46 pressing upward against a stop block 50 that is rigidly affixed to the cylinder axle retaining member 38. The spring 46 has a lower spring end 52 arranged to press downward against a lower block 54 that is pivotally attached to the cylinder actuating axle 30. A spring retaining rod 56 is rigidly fixed at a lower end 58 to the lower block 54 and extends upward coaxially through the center of the spring and slidably through a stop block bore 51 (see FIG. 2) defined by the stop block 50. The retaining rod 56 terminates at an upper threaded portion 60 on which a nut 62 is retained. When the system is at rest, the spring 46 forces the lower block 54 downward so that the nut 62 rests against the upper surface of stop block 50, and the tow hook 14 is maintained in the resting position shown in FIG. 2.
When a towing force F is applied to the tow hook connection end 18 of the tow hook 14, the tow hook lever 15 pivots about the pivot axle 24, causing the actuator arm portion 20 of the tow hook lever 15 to move upward, raising the cylinder actuating axle 30. Consequently, the piston rod 40 slides into the cylinder body 32, causing its connected piston (not shown) to create a hydraulic fluid pressure therein. The hydraulic fluid pressure is transmitted through a hydraulic brake circuit (as will be shown below in FIGS. 5 & 6) to the vehicle wheel brakes to release the brakes. Actuation of the tow hook 14 also acts to compress the hook biasing spring 46. Thus, when the towing force is reduced or removed at the tow hook connection end 18 of tow hook lever 15, biasing spring 46 presses cylinder actuating axle 30 downward, thereby returning tow hook 14 to its original resting position shown in FIG. 1, and thereby also extending piston rod 40 to reduce the hydraulic fluid pressure in the cylinder 16 sufficiently to reapply the towed vehicle's spring-applied brakes.
FIG. 3 shows a top view of the apparatus 10 installed on the chassis member 12 of a vehicle.
FIG. 4 shows a front view of the tow hook brake release system 10.
FIG. 5 shows a schematic existing spring-applied brake system as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,893,879, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. Generally speaking, the illustrated system employs a pump 74 to draw fluid from a tank 76 and transmit it through brake line 78 to a plurality of wheel brakes 66. A control valve 80 is serially connected on the brake line 78 and is controlled by the output of a transmission clutch pressure circuit 82 through a pilot line 84 such that the control valve 80 is open only while the vehicle is functioning, with sufficient transmission clutch pressure. Thus, failure of the clutch pressure will close the valve and consequently cause the wheel brakes 66 to be activated automatically.
In the standard spring-applied brake system, the control valve communicates with a brake valve 86 through a brake line connection 78a (shown in dashed lines). The brake valve 86 is connected serially on the brake line 78 between the control valve 80 and wheel brakes 66 so that manual actuation of the brake valve foot pedal 86a opens the brake line circuit to permit the wheel brake 66 to be actuated. As shown in FIG. 5, the vehicle brake system is shown in a disabled state, that is, with no transmission clutch pressure to activate the control valve 80 and no operator foot pressure to activate the brake valve 86.
In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the hydraulic cylinder 16 is installed to be connected in communication through a shuttle valve 62 to the brake line 78 between the control valve 80 and the brake valve 86. The brake line connection 78a is eliminated on installation of the system according to the invention, and the brake line 78 exiting the control valve 80 is connected to the shuttle valve 62 so that it may communicate with the brake valve 86 during normal operation.
Actuation of the actuator arm 20 will compress fluid in the cylinder 16 to transmit a fluid pressure through shuttle valve 62 into brake line 78 and consequently to wheel brake 66 to release the brake.
FIG. 6 shows a schematic hydraulic circuit with the cylinder 16 in communication with an accumulator 68 and with the existing spring-applied brake system of FIG. 5. In the preferred embodiment, the cylinder 16 will provide 50 cubic inches of oil to the accumulator 68, which in turn will send 10 cubic inches to release the vehicle brakes, and store 40 cubic inches to allow for any leakage in the system. If the stored 40 cubic inches of oil leaks down substantially, the fluid pressure will be inadequate to maintain the brakes in a released state and the brakes will automatically be reapplied. If this application occurs, the brakes may be rereleased by releasing the tow hook 14 and then reapplying towing force F to the tow hook 14 to reactivate the hydraulic cylinder 16.
As further shown in FIG. 6, a transmission valve 70 is operably connected between the cylinder 16 and the shuttle valve 62 to negate the tow hook brake release effect when the vehicle is running. The transmission valve is activated while the transmission maintains a fluid pressure in a transmission line 72 to prevent a release of the wheel brakes 66 by actuation of the tow hook 14. Consequently, a running vehicle may not be towed in the same manner as a disabled vehicle.
While the apparatus is described as employing a hydraulic cylinder for providing hydraulic fluid pressure sufficient to release vehicle wheel brakes, it is contemplated that the hydraulic pressure generated may be used to release or activate an alternate source of stored hydraulic pressure. It is further contemplated that the brake release system may employ mechanical or electrical means to transmit a brake releasing force or power. Also, while a pivoting tow hook has proven effective in the preferred embodiment, it is contemplated that the brakes may be released by an engagement to the towing connection without a force thereon or movement thereby.
Thus, having illustrated and described the principles of our invention by what is presently a preferred embodiment, it should be apparent to those persons skilled in the art that the illustrated embodiment may be modified without departing from such principles. We claim as our invention not only the illustrated embodiment but all such modifications, variations, and equivalents thereof as come within the true spirit and scope of the following claims.
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|U.S. Classification||303/71, 188/170, 303/18|
|International Classification||F16D65/78, B60T13/22, B60T15/02|
|Cooperative Classification||B60T15/02, B60T13/22, F16D65/78|
|European Classification||B60T13/22, B60T15/02, F16D65/78|
|Feb 10, 1997||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Mar 20, 2001||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Apr 19, 2001||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Apr 19, 2001||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|
Year of fee payment: 7
|Jan 26, 2005||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12